Saturday, February 16, 2019

Saturday's postcard: Driving through a redwood

This black-and-white postcard was never mailed but instead had been glued into a scrapbook with black pages many years ago. The printing on the front states:

Drive through
"The Redwood Shrine" tree
At Myers, Redwood Highway.

This tree still exists, and you can still drive through it in Myers Flat, California. states that the Shrine Drive Thru Tree is also known as the Doust Tree, Redwood Shrine Tree and Shrine of the Redwoods.

Writing on Inspired Imperfection in 2017, Jennifer Bourn states:
"The Shrine Drive-Thru Tree is a chimney tree whose trunk was originally hollowed out by fire more than a century ago. So unlike the other drive-through trees, this one was mostly created by Mother Nature and not cut by man. The natural angled opening was later widened to create a 7.0 foot wide by 7.0 foot tall tunnel through the tree and when Avenue of the Giants was paved, the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree became one of the first roadside attractions along California’s new Redwood Highway."
Bourn also notes that the tree is now held up by steel cables and that her family could not drive through it because large vans, SUVs and pickup trucks are prohibited. For folks who do want to go through, admission is $8 for a vehicle, $4 for a motorcycle and $3 for bicyclists or walkers. You can see some groovy present-day pictures here.

Monday, February 11, 2019

"Fate" classifieds, August 1975

Last year I shared 30 classified ads from the June 1971 issue of "Fate" magazine. Now, let's speed forward four summers in time and check out the classified advertisements from the August 1975 issue of that magazine.

So let's see if things were much different when Gerald Ford was president, the Helsinki Accords were signed, New England was baking under a heat wave, terrorism was devastating Northern Ireland, and the Viking 1 probe was launched toward Mars.

  • WORLD'S Most Outspoken Publication, Natural Health, Healing, Organic Gardening. Free Copy. — Provoker Press, St. Catharines 113, Ontario, Canada L2R 7C9
  • BOOK REVEALS MYSTICAL SECRETS FOR YOUR SUCCESS! Read THE MESSAGE OF THE GRAIL. Unlocks mysteries - Holy Grail, Search for Legendary Chalice by Camelot Knights-Parsifal! Specific answers for your problems NOW! Send $6.25 to: CSA Press, Box 127F, Lakemont, GA 30552
  • FANTASTIC COSMIC TELECOMMUNICATOR. Speaks directly to your subconscious mind. Remove mental blocks to wealth, success, spiritual growth. Details: Madeleine, Box 4307-TD, Inglewood, CA 90309
  • FREE ENERGY-100 MPG "Suppressed Inventions" $4.95. Psionic Machine Plans $3.00. Guaranteed. 10c listing. — Fry's, 879-J Park, Perris, CA 92370
  • FAMOUS ORACLE OF HERMES — Oraculum Book, $2.00. Table of Questions-Answers, Consult Daily, Know your Future — ENOB SERBOK, 1382 Stewart Ave., SW, Atlanta, GA 30310
  • USED OCCULT BOOKS. Free lists. — P.O. Box 13953, Portland, OR 97215
  • FANTASTIC BEAUTY SECRETS. Keep youth-beauty forever. Look 20 years younger. Details-proof of amazing results. — Madeleine, Box 4307-B, Inglewood, CA 90309
  • THE NEW SEXUAL EXPERIENCE Discover the NEW mystical signficance of Sex. Complete instruction in Self-transcendence. Free information. — INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED THINKING. Dept. F-875, P.O. Box 606, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
  • MAITREYA DICTATIONS. Occult Gazette, 6 Phillimore Place, Kensington, London, W.8, England
  • "DIVINE POSTURE INFLUENCE UPON ENDOCRINE GLANDS" by Cajzoran Ali. Esoteric secrets in the 13 glands for physical, mental, spiritual awakening. 58 illustrations. Healing and regeneration. Send $6.95 "YOUR DESTINY" Route 1, Box 384, Oklawah, Fla. 32679
  • ANCIENT DRUID RUNE STONES used to foretell your future. Eleven amazing stones. Guaranteed. $4.95. — EVE Enterprizes, Box 3535, Knoxville, TN 37917
  • LOST? Biofeedback may put you back in touch with yourself. — Aquarius Electronics, Box 96 P, Albion CA 95410
  • PLASTERCRAFT ... Profitable Home Business. Over 1,000 molds available. Details: Lynnette, 6251J Mentor Park, Mentor, OH 44060
  • WHY GROW OLD AND DIE? Li-Chung-Yun lived 256 years. You could too. Learn how. $1.00. — Fortune House, Rt 1, Box 350B, Gainesville, GA 30501
  • SOLVING THE MYSTERY OF DEATH! Stamp appreciated. — Methods, Box 1263, Mountain View, CA 94042
  • MONEY for Words. Information $1.00. — LYCEUM, Bx 9409, Richmond, VA 23228
  • FLYING SAUCERS — ICVS 35 photos $2.00. Catalog 35c. — UFO International. P.O. Box 552. Detroit, MI 48232
  • SCIENTIFIC MASSAGE: Big earnings uncrowded profession. Learn spare time at home. Diploma awarded. Free catalog. Write: Anderson School, Dept. J-67C, Princeton, IL 61356
  • RECEIVE VALUABLE MINERALS Monthly!! Free Information. — Mineral of the Month Club, 13057-NK California, Yucaipa, CA 92399
  • HERE COMES THE SUN! Free. — Box 241, Stillwater, OK 74074
  • PERSONALITY PORTRAIT, $5.00. Send birthdate, including year. — Jay Diamond, 1608 S. El Molino, Alhambra, CA 91801
  • ONE MAN OPERATION Dice Divining Game Board with spinning wheels, also plays regulation dice. $4.99 plus tax, plus 50c postage. — World Wide World Games, 1926 Weepah Way, Hollywood, CA 90046
  • ZODIAC SIGNS T-shirts $3.00, iron-ons $1.00 Tarot, I-Ching, Satans ram, magic sigils, many others. Free brochure. — Leco, 2419 Greensburg Pike, Pittsburgh PA 15221
  • CHARTER YOUR OWN CHURCH. $3.00 free includes information, ministerial appointments and ecumenical charter. — BROTHERHOOD, Box 2142, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
  • MONEY LOCATING, Map Dowsing, Details $1.00. Write: Ron Muterspaugh, 1712½ Lake Ave., Panama City, FL 32401
  • TROUBLED, MISFORTUNES, HEXED? Try the Legendary Powers of the Unknown. $3.00 contribution appreciated. Catalog $1.25. — Witch Adonia, P.O. Box 1119, Gretna, LA 70053
  • WITCHES NEWSLETTER. ten—$4; WITCHCRAFT DIGEST, $1.25; CURSES IN VERSES, $1.25; GUIDE TO COVENS, $2.00 — MARTELLO, 153 W. 80th, New York, NY 10024

No, I wasn't going to let Enob Serbok pass without comment. It sounds like a fake name and/or an anagram, and it absolutely is. Enob Serbok was a pseudonym for Marie Kobres Bone (1919-2014). According to her obituary, "she traveled the world and wrote the book The Elephant Hotel: Hedwig And The Tagebuch at the age of 90." That book is about the early years of Lucy the Elephant, which is located just south of Atlantic City, New Jersey, and is, according to Wikipedia, "the oldest surviving roadside tourist attraction in America."

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Bookplate inside "The Angry Planet"

This lovely bookplate, with a tree's roots wrapped firmly around a book, appears inside a copy of The Angry Planet, written by John Keir Cross and published in 1946 by Coward-McCann. I'll be referring back to this book in a future post, because its illustrator is Robin Jacques.

Jacques (1920-1995) was renowned for his illustrations for Ruth Manning-Sanders' fairy tale collections, but I plan to write about some of the other amazing work he did during his career. So you'll be seeing more from The Angry Planet.

But today I just wanted to share this bookplate, which states PRESENTED TO, thus making it a bookplate that was specifically for gift-giving. You can see some more beautiful bookplates featuring trees in this Pinterest collection curated by Henk Weltje. I especially love those for Anna Baumgärtner and Pierre E. Apse.

As you can see, this volume was presented to Jon and Lydia Sally. Dr. Jon H. Sally died last October at the age of 83. According to his obituary, his many accomplishments and interests included:

  • "After Kent State, he attended the Philadelphia School of Osteopathic Medicine where he graduated with his degree as a Doctor of Osteopathic medicine."
  • "He believed in education and commitment to the community as shown by his mentoring of many future doctors, nurse-practitioners and nurses and staff which trained with him thru their practice during his long career."
  • "Dear to his heart was a plaque given to him by Child Health Services of Portage County symbolizing the 'Doctor Mother' that Dr. Sally was to the children of Portage County."
  • "In addition to medicine, Jon had a fervent passion for art. Among other disciplines, he was a prolific sculptor, carver, pencil artist, and painter."

In fact, Dr. Sally had his own art exhibition in 2005, getting the opportunity to display that side of his interests. His biography for that exhibition states, in part:
"His interest in art began in Miss Hutt's grade school class. The young artist had his own ideas and was unable to follow the teacher's vision of how one should color. Consequently, he spent most of his second grade with his head down on the desk, as punishment for his failure to conform. ... During his years at college and medical school, creating art became an outlet for releving stress. ... Now that he has retired, he continues to take pleasure in painting. He also does wood carving and portraiture, but painting is his first love and greatest pleasure."

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Saturday's postcard:
"My Old Log Cabin"

This extremely creased postcard, with the caption "My Old Log Cabin" on the front, was postmarked on February 16, 1928, in Tampa, Florida. On that date, headlines on the front page of The Tampa Daily Times included:

  • Spokane Air Derby Winner Enroute Here
  • Kress Plans 3 New Stores for Florida
  • 2 Bombs Hurled in Chicago War
  • Over Zealous Cymbal Players Are Curbed
  • Death Rings Down Curtain for Eddie Foy

The postcard was mailed to Mr. Dorr E. Prouty of Fort Ann, New York. Dorr was seven years old when he received this postcard. He was born on May 30, 1920, in Fort Ann and died on November 4, 2008, according to his obituary on

He served in the U.S. Army in World War II, and spent time as a farmer, mechanic and truck driver. He was a 50-year member of the American Legion and was also a member of the Adirondack Bluegrass League.

The message on this postcard states:
Tampa, Fla.
Tell Papa & Momma I am here for a few days. This is certainly a fine climate. The people here are all planting their gardens now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Self-help book cover: "The Crack in the Cosmic Egg"

As promised a couple of days ago...

  • Title: The Crack in the Cosmic Egg
  • Subtitle: "Challenging Constructs of Mind and Reality"
  • Cover blurb: "A startling breakthrough book — Essential for those who are seeking expanded ways to achieve creative living and learning"
  • Author: Joseph "Joe" Chilton Pearce (1926-2016)
  • Cover artist: Unknown. There are some initials in the corner, but they are partially obscured from wear. First letter might be an A.
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (fifth printing, October 1974)
  • Cover price: $1.50
  • Original publication year: 1971
  • Pages: 219
  • Format: Paperback
  • Provenance: Once owned by Ms. Joan E. Book of Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania. Purchased this year at The York Emporium.
  • Dedication: "To the memory of my wife Patricia Ann mother of our five"
  • First sentence on introduction: Almost a decade has passed since I first experienced the crack in my own cosmic egg, and made tentative attempts to translate it into communicable form.
  • First sentence of book: There is a relationship between what we think is out there in the world and what we experience as being out there.
  • Last sentence: So I find that my concern and love for life, my longing and desire, have sowed a wind within this orb of skull, and here in this spiraled fire I reap the whirlwind of all the worlds.
  • Random sentences from middle: Piaget observed that we are continually hatching an enormous number of false ideas, conceits, Utopias, mystical explanations, superstitions, and megalomanic fantasies. All of these disappear when brought into contact with other people.
  • Goodreads rating: 4.02 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2016, Nicholas wrote: "I wasn't sure I'd made a good choice when I ordered this book, as I prefer my data empirical and this seemed to lean more towards the speculative. Coupled with the fact that it was written in the seventies, referenced Don Juan and held Sri Lankan firewalking to be the principle evidence in the flexibilty of reality, made me even more suspect of my own decision making process, but I proceeded to read it regardless. By the end of the first chapter my fears where not confirmed and I began to enjoy the book for what it is."
  • Amazon rating: 4.4 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon review excerpt (slightly edited): In 2009, Elbert Clark wrote: "I reread this book after it had inspired me years ago to think in new directions. It still holds up brilliantly. I recently met the author, a feisty old gentleman, who apologized for the followup book to this work. He says it was essentially unproofed and unedited and explained how it got that way. The publisher simply ran with the first rough draft."

But wait, there's more...

Check out this nifty bookmark that was tucked away inside this paperback! It's from Bookarama, which had stores at the Westgate Mall in Bethlehem and the Hamilton Mall in Allentown.

The Westgate Mall, which opened in 1973, was sold last autumn to a joint venture led by Onyx Equities LLC and PCCP LLC.

The Hamilton Mall was an attempted re-envisioning, in the mid-1970s, of Allentown's downtown business district to lure shoppers who had fled to suburban shopping centers. It was never fully successful and faded out in the 1990s.

It appears the Bookarama stores were finished by the mid 1990s, too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Staged shelfie just for the halibut 3

Something for everyone, perhaps?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Inscription within "Spirit Lake" by MacKinlay Kantor

This inscription is found on the first page of the hardcover edition of MacKinlay Kantor's 1961 novel Spirit Lake. If it's a bit hard for you to read I can tell you that it states:
I'm not sure if the 10/10 refers to this being given as a gift on October 10th or the book receiving a 10/10 rating.

I knew about Kantor's Andersonville, but I wasn't aware of this doorstop of a novel before I came across it recently. It centers around 1857's Spirit Lake Massacre, but is apparently about much more than that. The Kirkus review notes: "To all of this MacKinlay Kantor has brought the breath of life. He has recreated for the reader (who has the fortitude to stay with the whole of his 900 and 57 pages) the panorama of personalities, individuals and families from their known — and suspected sources — through the pattern of their journeyings until they put down roots in the far frontiers, strengthened by their dreams, their aspirations, their faith." The final two words of that review are "immensely rewarding."

It seems this novel never got the acclaim of Andersonville, though it might be worthy. In 2014, Goodreads reviewer Janice (JG) wrote the following:
"This historical novel is a literary feast. It is a true readers' read. ... Consequently, I am flummoxed by the disinterest and neglect of this novel. There aren't even ten reviews between both Goodreads and Amazon, and some of those who did read all 958 pages said it bored them. For a book that was banned in Texas upon publication1, it seems to have been shockingly underrated and ignored. ... Kantor's ability to engage the reader intimately on every subject from coyotes to four-year-old children to snow to garbage is uncanny — and an indication of an enormous writing talent. Somehow he manages to slip inside every living thing he touches upon, bringing us with him until we are replete, filled up with the spirit and bone and muscle and desires of each. Corn-Sucker, a Hidatsa woman who weaves in and out throughout the novel, is an unforgettable character, and one of my favorite of all fictional females."

1. From the January 17, 1963, edition of The Marshall (Texas) News Messenger:
The book "Spirit Lake," by MacKinlay Kantor, which has been ordered removed from the library of Baytown High School by the board of trustees, is not in the Marshall High School Library, according to Von Rhea Beane, superintendent of schools in Marshall.

The novel is based upon an especially horrible massacre of white settlers around Spirit Lake, Iowa in 1857 by a band of renegade Indians.

The Baytown trustees ordered the book removed from the library at the high school because, they said, the book contained "objectionable language." Baytown school officials were ordered to investigate other Kantor novels.

Kantor in a telephone conversation with the Houston Chronicle, said, "I've written 35 books which have been published all over the world and translated into many languages. My work doesn't need defending. I'll say this though, I didn't write it for immature girls or immature adults, but for mature readers."

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Baron Von Papergreat edges further into Marvel comics universe

The legend of Baron Von Papergreat continues! Now he's been part of his first crossover event.

But let's back up. Baron Von Papergreat entered the Marvel comics canon, in the most fringe way possible, when he was mentioned on the letters page of The Great Lakes Avengers #2 (January 2017 issue). That debut was fully and giddily documented in this Papergreat post.

In short, I described him in the published letter as "the only ephemera-centric super hero. Papergreat's powers include the ability to decipher any handwriting, no matter how loopy or chicken-scratchy, on old postcards; the ability to find clues, currency and gum wrappers tucked away inside old books; and the ability to save worthless piles of old papers from certain destruction and hoard them for future evaluation."

I also offered to have Baron Von Papergreat handle some dusting; most superheroes are loathe to do their own dusting, so he could, for example, stop by Mister Immortal's place every other weekend to handle that. That sealed the deal with Great Lakes Avengers writer Zac Gorman, who signed off on Baron Von Papergreat by noting: "You had me hooked with your powers but you reeled me in with 'light dusting.' You're hired!"

"You're hired" = entrance in the Marvel canon, right alongside Tony Stark, Namor, Riri Williams and Lockjaw. At least in my book, it is.

Baron Von Papergreat's status was reaffirmed in The Great Lakes Avengers #7 (June 2017). The final letters page of that sadly-too-short series states: "It's time at last, eager applicants! For six issues we've listened to you extoll [sic] the dubious virtues of your 'skills' and 'abilities,' and we can finally release the full roster of All-New, All-Different, All-Pretty-Boring Great Lakes Avengers Support Squad™, as chosen by our hiring manager/writer, Zac Gorman."

Baron Von Papergreat is on the list of eight "ACCEPTED" Suppert Squad™ members, alongside such illustrious characters as The Cheesemonger and The Mega Horbz.

So, with the end of that run of The Great Lakes Avengers, it was probably going to be the end of Baron Von Papergreat's story, right?


Along came the newest run of the West Coast Avengers, written by the super-talented Kelly Thompson and edited by Alanna Smith, who served as the Assistant Editor for The Great Lakes Avengers back in the day. This series, which features the continuation of the storyline of Kate Bishop from Thompson's Hawkeye run, also has a page for reader feedback. Only it's done via newfangled technology — Twitter.

So I sent a Tweet.

And then Smith dropped this hint right around Christmas:

Last week, West Coast Avengers #7 (March 2019) was published. And there it was, nestled in with artist Eduard Petrovich's incredible work on the final page:

The magnified version is at the top of this post. It states, as you can well see:
#WestCoastAvengers is a dandy book! If the team ever needs a hapless backup hero or some light housework done, honorary Great Lakes Avenger Baron Von Papergreat is available! #OKToPrint
Indeed, he's ready and willing to move out to San Andreas Fault territory to help fight supervillains and/or dust bunnies. If you're keeping score at home, there have now been mentions in two separate Marvel series for Baron Von Papergreat, which pretty much means he's double canon.

Where to go from here? Baron Von Papergreat has been incredibly fortunate so far. Certainly there are no guarantees that this kind of momentum can be maintained. We can certainly dream, though. Right? I would love to see him mentioned in passing in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Doctor Strange or the upcoming The Magnificent Ms. Marvel.

And if things ever really got crazy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe came calling, I'd recommend Luis Guzman to portray Baron Von Papergreat. I'm sure he would look great in a cape.